David Fizdale should be the NBA MVP. The haters and losers will say things like “you can’t give that award to a coach” or “you can’t base the award off of postgame media sessions”. I don’t have to listen to people who think like that. I’m not here to talk about things like “rules”. I’m here to tell you what I think. And I think that David Fizdale should be the NBA MVP.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) April 18, 2017
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This is the greatest monologue in the history of the world. It far surpasses anything from Glengarry Glen Ross or Mad Men. This was the most convincing persuasive argument that I’ve ever heard. It had a thesis, data points to back up the argument and a convincing delivery that was impossible to ignore.
The delivery can’t be overlooked, because it allowed for the inception of two instantly repeatable catchphrases. “They’re not gonna rook us” is, the more you dissect it, something that does not make a great deal of sense. But the way Fizdale says it is so convincing, I replied in my own head “hell no, they’re not gonna rook you!” Rook is not a verb, you can’t use it like that in a proper sentence using the English language. Until now. Fizdale just made it a thing.
Not only that, I’m pretty sure he invented the stat of ratio of fouls called to points in the paint to make his case for the poorly officiated game. He spouted numbers both before and after saying “I’m not a numbers guy, but that doesn’t add up.” A man who doesn’t like numbers using numbers to prove his point is a scary sight. Like you got in an argument with a pacifist and he punched you in the face. Fizdale’s use of numbers itself didn’t add up. But it worked.
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All that was already the highlight of the entire playoffs, no matter what happens later. But it wouldn’t have been enough to make him the MVP in my eyes. Russell Westbrook’s triple double, James Harden’s bulky numbers and Kawhi Leonard’s two-way excellence had the longevity to overcome it. Luckily, Fizdale wasn’t done.
He pulled off the classic monologue move of shutting up for two seconds, daring anyone he’s been talking at to speak. It’s a risky power move, but the payoff is astronomical. Those seconds felt at least 20 times longer. Of course, no one had the guts to speak up. It wasn’t worth it. That pause was the quietest my mind has ever been; I was thousands of miles away and still too scared to ask what the action of “rooking” actually entails. So yeah, the pause worked. Then he brought the hammer down.
“Take that for data” is a derisive statement, but it’s not clear who it’s directed toward. Yet it’s so perfect it doesn’t matter who it was intended for. Everyone who heard it felt it in their bones, like Fizdale looked you in the eyes and said it to your face. It wasn’t a car honk in traffic, it was a tornado siren wailing when the weather seems fine. It was for everyone, but its purpose was unclear.
Normally such a broad call-out would fall flat. Not here. Every official felt it, even those not working that game, even the high schoolers get $5 on weekends to referee children. Every statistician and analytics person felt it. Despite having no involvement whatsoever in this argument, anyone who has ever visited Basketball Reference or the NBA’s stat page stopped and asked themselves if they were missing something. They, and everyone else, and to re-assess everything about themselves. It was a verbal posterization of the entire world.
Fizdale didn’t even need to pick up a pen and slam it on the table at the end. “Take that for data” doesn’t need extra emphasis. That part was just for him. And you know what? He earned it. That, and the MVP award. Give the man what he deserves.